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Unpublished Paper
Constitutional Patriotism: A Reasonable Theory of Radical Democracy?
ExpressO (2013)
  • Vito Breda, Cardiff University

Since its first appearance just over a decade ago, Habermas's constitutional patriotism has inspired a rich and articulate series of theoretical analyses and has indirectly encouraged constitutional projects such as the Constitution for Europe. The popularity of constitutional patriotism among political and constitutional theorists has, however, also generated some confusion over the aims and basic structure of Habermas's endeavour. For instance, it is unclear whether constitutional patriotism ought to be considered a constitutional or political theory. This paper seeks to clarify some of the misunderstandings surrounding constitutional patriotism. It will contend that the theory is, at its core, a political theory that explains the implications of having a democratically open constitutional polity.

The paper is divided into three sections. The first section introduces Habermas's theory of constitutional patriotism. I argue that one of constitutional patriotism's main contributions to current constitutional and political debates is an increased awareness of the democratic accountability of constitutional norms. The second section discusses the effect that pluralism should have in a deliberative democracy. In the third section, I discuss the implications of pluralism in the debate over the role of nationalism and democracy

  • Constitutional Theory,
  • Jurisprudence,
  • Habermas,
  • Constitutional Patriotism
Publication Date
May 29, 2013
Citation Information
Vito Breda. "Constitutional Patriotism: A Reasonable Theory of Radical Democracy?" ExpressO (2013)
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